A year has gone by….

So it’s been a year since the end of my PCT adventure, and this will be the final post for this blog. Regarding the hike, it was EPIC and if you haven’t planned to hike the PCT, I think you should. I believe those that will find the courage inside of themselves to plan, organize, prepare, and actually do the hike, are also the type of people who will love and cherish the trail and the lands it runs through. I also believe if you are capable of finishing the PCT, you can’t be stopped by anything (in life) but yourself.

I was just sharing my next adventure with a friend who laughed audibly when I said, “I’ll be leaving in late July or early August for my next adventure.” He was blown away that I was making plans so far in advance when the adventure was almost a year away. I kept to myself regarding the two-year plan it took for me to prepare for the PCT. Afterwards, while he was sharing about his own life, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’m getting better at planning or if I’m getting foolish at planning. The mind is an odd friend and foe.

Let’s go back to my hike of the PCT last year. People have asked the generic question, “What was your favorite part?” about a thousand times and my answer is always the same. “Favorite in what way?” The views are amazing almost everywhere along the trail, and the places that weren’t fade away from my memory. Through-hikers are my favorite people in the entire world, and the people who weren’t fade away as well. The foodwho cares? Just eat it! All of it!

The real question to ask a throughhiker is this: “What mile did you meet yourself?” Now that question will give you something far greater then you ever hoped to learn. My favorite parts of the trail come in as many layers as there are people but where I met myself was mile 2,300.

That’s the mile I learned to forgive my father. I’m a slow learner so no wonder it took 2,300 miles. After mile 2,300, something shifted in me and I realized I have used a survival filter (as I call it at times) that allows some types of people to be close while preventing others from ever getting close. Consider your childhood as an organic living breathing filter; it grows over time and twists like a vine, blocking some sunlight, shielding life’s harsh weather, connecting at various points and reaching through cracks in barriers placed there by other people. Mile 2,300 gave me a moment of peace and clarity as I quietly looked behind me to see just how this vine/filter has served me over the years, then it became abundantly clear that the survival filter I had been using all these years has long since stopped serving me and was now antiquated. I had subconsciously held a grudge against this man (my father) who did his best at the time, with the tools he had available, to create me. He made mistakes, just as I have with my children. A grudge I didn’t even realize had developed, and it became my rudder that moved me through life’s turbulent seas and steered me clear of things, some amazing things I completely missed out on, some harmful things that may have shifted me sooner. Had I been aware of it, would I have changed something? Maybe. Maybe not. The important thing was to trim (dramatically) this vine, this filter, this outdated version of me. In order to do this drastically difficult task, I needed to forgive my father. And so I did. It’s just that easy. Father, I forgive you. You are absolved of all wrongdoing. Forever.

364 miles to Canada.

So where do I go from here? I don’t know. There is no sure thing, no comfort in stability, no precise plan or pattern of living that will give me that everelusive feeling of certainty. I can only know I am forever changed, and always evolving, moving and shifting from who I once was into…. the unknown version of me. Its not going to be easy. Its not going to be fun. Its going to hurt and sting a lot. In the meantime I will embark on another EPIC adventure. Want a hint? Come follow along. klr17.wordpress.com

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Near the end

If you’re still reading my silly blog I have some advice for you. Go outside. Go. Explore. More. Often. As soon as possible. As long as possible. You will feel the presence of God there. You will know you are not alone. See how massive this planet is and realize how small you are in it.

For the duration of Washington this hike of mine is between God and I. I had hoped this day would come and it has. This is why I am out here, to be with God. So I continue North in the rain and cold with soggy feet, wet clothes and wet gear but never alone. He walks with me. I encourage you to explore this planet we live on. I encourage you to explore your limits. I encourage you to travel light and drop all those things that weigh you down. Metaphorically as well. Move yourself until you are so tired you start to grow. Make a list of the things you do from day to day. Make a list of things you do that make you happy. Compare the two. Adjust. Find Him in all things you do. Hear God whisper to you and you’ll get better at it.

When I am finished with this hike in the next 20 days or so I’ll post again. I may reveal all. I may not. I’ll keep posting photos to Instagram related to the hike until I’m done but please do yourself a favor and go outside.

Go. Explore. More. Often.

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My summer (or the summer without me)

Where has the summer gone?
The bad news first. My cousin has passed away from brain cancer and he is only a few years older than me! I miss him deeply. I had thought I had enough time to visit him in Oregon as I hike through but as it turns out God needed Chris more than the rest of us. My grandfather passed away as well. The two of them were close hear on Earth so I like to imagine they are together in heaven playing chess or sharing their ideas with each other. Also a friend in Big Sur has also passed this summer and he will be missed as well. My heart goes out to Lisa and her family. The seem to survive together against all odds and I believe this will only make them stronger.

Life goes on even when we want it to slow down.

As to the trail…last time I checked in I was in Tahoe I think. Since then I have seen several people leave the trail. One person I enjoyed hiking with was a guy named Lumber Jack. He had some things to go take care of in order to clear his head and free his soul a bit. I hope he picks up where he left off. Good luck Lumber Jack. I’ve also met some wonderful people who are both trail Angels, and day hikers and section hikers. I hiked with one woman who was a section hiker and an intragal part of my healing process. Thanks Mermaid! More on that later. Yiwen was a trail Angel and she helped me to reach Dunsmuir. Thanks Yiwen and her husband! Tyler was an awesome woman who happened to come across my path at a low point and her cheerful energy was a welcome change of pace for me. Thanks Tyler.

Trail miles and my path has changed a little. Let me fill you in. When I left Burney Falls the first 10 miles went pretty smooth. I had just hiked from Benton with my overall health in mind. I walked a super slow and safe pace of 10 miles a day and it worked. I was stronger and more coordinated and this was exactly what I needed. So after leaving Burney falls I did a mild 10 evening miles into the dark. The following two days I was able to hike nearly 35 miles each day to land just under I5. Those two days yielded views fully blocked by smoke. After Van Gogh called the Forest Service there were fires apparently every where but the PCT so it was safe but without visibility. The air quality was worse and worse the further North I went. So I had a decision to make. Do I hike in the smoke or wait it out? After a lot of thought I decided to push on but not from Dunsmuir and I5, instead I would hitch North from Town to town until the smoke was clear. Thanks Yiwen for the ride from trail to Dunsmuir, thanks Butch for the ride from Shasta to Ashland. I picked up a resupply box in Ashland and was then covered for food. I then rode a bus to Medford and met my friend “Susan Morgan from Oregon” (that has to be her trail name if she ever hikes the PCT) who put me up for the night and made dinner and lunch the next day! Amazing! Then she even drove me up the state of Oregon until we reached a smoke free area of he trail and I returned to my hike around mile 1900! Thank you so much Susan! So after I reach Canada in the next few weeks I will hitch or bus back down to Dunsmuir and hike North to complete and finish the 485 miles I jumped to make my through hike of he PCT complete.

Sorry it’s so short but the internet is not what it should be here in these small towns, or maybe it’s exactly as it should be. Less connected to the outside world and more connected to the things close to us, each other.

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2 months (plus)

After much delay, here’s the latest and some. Last post was from Lone Pine but here I am in Tahoe just days away from celebrating the Fourth of July! Unbelievable! So allow me to bring you up to speed. First off there hasn’t been much available wifi and almost the same for cellular service as other hikers have mentioned to me. With out cell service I’ve noticed some hikers are completely “cut off” for the first time. It’s rough on some and other immediately embrace it. As for me, I enjoy the silence and take in the surroundings more so. I’m so very grateful for this life I have and have vowed not to take it for granted.

After Lone pine there was Bishop, after Bishop there was Mammoth, after Mammoth there was Tuolomne Meadows, after Tuolomne Meadows there is South Lake Tahoe. The towns are usually small and limited to tourist quick stops. Post cards, chips and soda, bug spray and beer. Bug spray leads me to me Deet accident. I am so NOT a Deet user for obvious reasons. It’s poisonous! However in the sierras with all the melting snow there are countless small ponds and drying lakes that the bugs, particularly kamikaze mosquitoes, live breed and return to the earth, by the billions and promote the use of Deet While they thrive. At first just like anyone else I tell myself I’m quicker than they are, then I convinced myself a few bites aren’t so bad but then, after swarms literarily throw themselves into your eyes, mouth, ears and that soft tender skin behind your knee, I then thought Deet might actually help. It does. At a cost. I developed the worst rash on both legs that scared the (explanative) out of me! Both legs were beet red with bumps every where! So my tip for you, spray only two small squirts of Deet into your palms and rub your hands together. Then SLIGHTLY rub your hands quickly over any exposed area of your skin. DO NOT spray Deet directly on your skin! Trust me on this. With out Deet consider the bug bites as a toll to be paid, in full, in blood!

As for my body, I’m strong, stronger then ever as far as my hiking legs. Some minor ankle and knee irritations but mostly I feel like a machine able to climb steadily uphill with out stopping for an hour easily while climbing 3000 feet. Sure I’ve lost almost 20lbs and can’t get enough calories in me no matter what I do, but I can out hike all day hikers, all section hikers and most PCT’ers. I feel confident I will make it to Canada.

Gear is a concern but I’m learning how to make things last even longer. My pack has been replaced along with shoes, socks, sleep pad and a few smaller things. The new sleep pad has a slow leak just like the last one. The seams seem to give way after a short time so I’m hoping to make this one last until I can replace it with the Nero Air small that all the other hikers have already switched over to, It’s much lighter as well. Fingers crossed. The new socks are already getting holes even while stopping to empty out any rocks. The new pack is holding up well with the ‘improvements’ and with out the bear canister which I mailed home. Stove, fuel bag, pot, sleep clothes, iPad sleeping bag, water filter and rain gear are all in perfect condition.

Now let’s talk about the trail and the amazing views! Almost every water source is great tasting water! I only filter water below 10,000 feet and only swim in water below 9,000. By swim I really mean bathe. I have almost no upper arm strength anymore so I may need to start doing push ups. The trail has kind of mellowed out a bit as far as all the ups and downs. The previous sections included passes that could be a 3,000 foot climb in 2 short miles followed by a 2,000 foot decline into a valley where the trail might turn right only to climb again 3,000 feet just to go up and over and back down again another 3,000 feet and up again! It was hard work for the knees and ankles. Now that the Southern AND Central sections of Ca. are down the ups and downs are more gradual and we hikers are all much stronger. The views have gone from dramatic valleys and mountains to more meadows and hills. Less water up ahead but with stronger legs and more determination the days should turn out to be more big mile days. 20 miles, no prob. 25, ok I can do that. 30 miles in a day? Going to get up early again like the desert sections I think. I will hike later into the days because it will be warmer after the sun goes down and I think I won’t have to hide from the cold or the bugs. The wild flowers are every where! The half way mark is close. Then we will look forward to crossing the Oregon border. Hey Susan, you going to be around? Does Good2Go have a hiker box? I should try to time it right for taco Tuesday! Yum!

Ok folks it’s getting late here for me but I want to say thank you for being patient with my inconsistent posts and all of your support. A special thank you to the Hermitage family for your calls and emails, it really means so much to me when I leave towns and get to re-read some of these great kind words.

It may be awhile until my next post so go outside, enjoy your summer, take a hike to some where beautiful and take a friend. I encourage you to live a little and brave the elements. Just put one foot in front of the other.

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6 weeks

Lone Pine again. I’m in Lone Pine just as I was in 2008 and struggling with what to do next. I spent the day yesterday contemplating so many things. My cousin Chris is in Oregon with a brain tumor and limited time remaining and I can’t be there, my daughter graduated a year early yesterday and I couldn’t be there either, my father is in Oregon tending to his father, this section of trail has had new snow fall with predicted temps of 22F for the low and 37F for the high during the day. It’s seems the universe has conspired against me as most of the hiker bubble I’m in are 20 something’s who like to drink and party. There’s an isolation feeling that overwhelms me as well as this not fitting in because I don’t drink or smoke “medical marijuana”. Then there’s the logistical challenges regarding the trail. Just the other night while on trail I slept maybe a total of 4 hours and not all at once. It’s frikken cold man!

After missing out on Madyson’s graduation (by the way if you are reading this honey, I’m so very proud of you for accomplishing the near impossible!) and not really being able to be the father I really wanted to be, you know whistling as loud as possible and embarrassing my youngest daughter in front of hundreds of parents and students, I have decided I will need to make it up to her. BIG TIME! When I planned this hike over the last two years I had originally planned to be there in Oregon during her graduation in 2016 but she went and did an amazing thing. I will forgive myself and hope she will forgive me.

My cousin is an entirely deferent emotion. I’m terribly sad about what’s happening to him. I’m sad about not being able to be there for him as well. I know he knows I love him but not being able to be there to show him is tough. I can pray for him and his family and I have hope that when I get to Oregon I will see him again. I know he is a strong man and courageous. He loves his family more than anything else and always has. Deep down I wish I was more like him in many ways. Thank you Chris for being you.

The trail. This haunting sense of ‘will I ever finish’ won’t go away. I can quit anytime just as many already have. Just talked with a woman today who is getting off the trail. Yesterday another two left the trail bound for LA to spend the remaining cash and time sitting on the beach in the LA area. There are so many other things out there tempting me to quit, to leave and go enjoy some other part of life. How ever, I woke up this morning dedicated to returning from Lone Pine back to the trail and continue my hike. This is one of those things I simply must do. I need to discover what it is out there waiting for me. I’m not sure or confident about who I will be at the end of this or if I will have regrets, I just simply must carry on and keep going. Another hiker told me I remind them of a shark, always moving in order to stay alive. Glad that’s not my trail name. 🙂

So tomorrow morning I head out. I will go to Independence and pick up my resupply and then head to Kearsarge Pass bypassing the predicted storm on Whitney. I may come back to hike the 40+ mile section that I’ve already hiked in 2008, I may not. I will leave behind the parties, the opportunities to leave the trail from Lone Pine, and I will at the very least step forward beyond the last haunting memory of my hike in 2008.

This may be hard for others to understand but this is a huge wall for me in so many ways. I wanted to get here and smash this wall, instead I’ve come to it tired on all levels and decided to climb over it. It’s not the glamourous heroic moment I wanted, it’s more like a sloppy uncoordinated mess of a thing. Ah hell, life can’t always be pretty.

To all of you showing me support, I’m so grateful beyond words. The little text messages, the long emails, comments and facebook post, Instagram likes, they all mean something to me. I’m sorry I can’t always respond but do know that I read them all, sometimes more than once! Internet isn’t always available and sometimes when it is it’s just in a passing moment in towns while I wait for a ride or walk past a wifi hotspot. So thank you so very much. I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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650 miles

Just a quick post.
My daily routine might be interesting.
3:45-4:15am wake and break camp.
6:15 oat meal breakfast
8:15 break and snack
12-2:30pm nap in the shade
2:30-5:30 serious speed hike for the evening push
5:30-6:30 look for camp site while hiking
6:30-7 dinner and set up camp
7-3:45 sleep like a baby

This seems like a regimented time line but in all actuality these times are approximate and subject to change with out notice.

There is tons of free time to meditate while walking. I think about things like when do humming birds actually sleep? How did my fathers love affect us kids? Why is customer service so fake in America while being genuine in Costa Rica? Will my children forgive me for the many mistakes I’ve made? We are all born naked and buried in the ground, do our lives actually change the momentum of anything? And so many more topics of little significance combined with deeper more precious thoughts layered and peppered with questions and conclusions that may make a difference when I reach Canada, or may not. What I do know is cars move way faster than they need to, so does life.

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One Month!

so it’s been awhile since I’ve updated the blog and exactly a month since I set foot on the trail. Sorry for the long delay. I’ve been having fun, eating dry powdery foods, walking a lot, and enjoying the views. Yesterday and the day before I walked through the wind farms on the North edges of the Mo-Jave desert. Those wind turbines are HUGE! So are the hills. Also I’ve climbed through the snow at the top of Baden Powell in shorts. I made a snowman but no Angels, it was to cold. I’ve filtered muddy puddles into clean drinking water, avoided the hazards of other water sources that have made others so sick they’ve left the trail for the season. Pop tarts are something I would not normally eat but I’ve had over 20 of them! Tortillas with peanut butter, gold fish crackers, honey and raisins actually tasted good. I’ve hiked some long stretches with out available water, chewed gum and chocolate at the same time, had soda every time it’s been available. This reminds me to thank the trail Angels along the way. Thank you to all the trail Angels in the Southern California section. Thank you so very much. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy this last section with out you! Thanks again.
Just 8 miles remain before I leave the Southern California section and enter into the Central California one. I’m looking forward to the change of scenery. I’ll make another post tonight.

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Two weeks plus

May 11th 7:30PM
6460
Today I left Big Bear Hostile around 1PM and climbed up and over some hill that I don’t know the name of. It was a beautiful 2 mile hike back to the PCT with roughly 40lbs of fresh supply’s and that’s way to much weight normally but my hiking appetite has kicked in. It couldn’t be better timing to receive my first bonus package from Carrie Ann. Thank you hun. I was glad to leave town and actually looking forward to being back out in the wilderness. I ran into C+, Adam, and the Swiss Guy that no one can say his name correctly, while hiking about 10 miles. I decided to set up camp early and quit at 10 so my old knees can get used to the new weight over the course of the next few days. Vitamin I is all the rage on the trail, even with the young ones. I carry them but only use them if I have to, so far I’ve taken a total of 4. So tonight I have early dinner, Mountain House Noodles and Chicken, chocolate and freshly filtered creek water. I miss my home in Big Sur already and wonder if things are running smooth while I’m gone from the Hermitage. I start to stress a little when I concern myself with the concept of weather or not I was thorough in my exit strategy, then I look around me and it kinda goes away. I’m warm in my bag, about to be full of food, have water to drink and feel like my needs are met. It’s been a good day.

May 12th 10:30PM
3571
4AM wake up from my sweet stealth camp site put me on trail by 5AM and heading towards Deep Creek Hot Springs. With a 20+ day I was here by 3:30PM. The trail winds along the deep creek canyon after some hilly/rocky terrain. Maybe 10 or so miles until I could see the creek but only after another 10+ miles can you get access to the creek. I spent the remaining daylight hours eating tons, napping, chatting it up with hikers Pandora, Luv’s, Purple Princess, Donez, Hands, Crayon (who walked the slack line from end to end several times) his lady friend, and large naked local who kept asking all the male hikers to “go a head, get naked”. There were several locals who regularly visit the springs including a cute couple who I became friends with. The guy caught a small cat fish while his lady friend drank booze from a bladder type bag floating next to the hot spring in the cold water portion of the creek. I lay awake because people are still coming and going at all hours. Also my sleep pad now only holds air for about an hour before becoming uncomfortably flat. I even had a dream I was paralyzed in a strange position because of it. So it goes. Good nite.

May 13th 5PM
3600
I woke around 5 this morning and hiked most of the day. I’ve come another 20+ miles and decided to make camp at mile 328 or some where near there. I’ve seen mans influence on Mother Nature today. With dams and graffiti while leaving the Deep Creek canyon, crossing left over materials in an abandoned yard sure to have been the center for the dams in the area, the man made lake called Silverwood Lake and now a horse camp near by, I’ve seen what man can do. It’s not pleasant. Tomorrow I will make it to McDonalds on trail and I think I’ll take a zero at the Best Western. A full zero. Long day all. Peace.

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Two weeks

May 2, 2015, 11:35 AM
I SIT HER IN THE SHADE AT Warner Spring community center that is closed while 50+ hikers hunker down in the shade of huge old Oak trees. Conversations vary from light weight gear, bizarre food combination and talk of trail closures ahead. Some are sun burnt like myself others wear total coverage including gloves. A few hikers have brought dogs and two that I know of have just quit. Soar paws and unable to hike. It’s a mixed bag for some while others are very opinionated regarding their stance on pets on the trail. I’m one to think that our pets love us until they die. We can be responsible for how long they live and my decision to love my little Bella enough to help here live a long and happy life. Speaking of happy lives, many of us are much happier having had a shower. I smell so much better than I did before. So I sit here in the shade able to enjoy my own company with a light breeze blowing my new scent along the grassy baseball fields next to the resource center. I’ll stay here until 2:30(ish) and hike out when it’s a bit cooler with another hiker by the name of Emily. The rumor is she is a hiking guide in the town she lives in. I know very little about here and likely will find out more as the trail continues North. I’m sure she’ll find out more about me as I tend to talk a lot, so I’m told.
8:30 PM
Left w/o Emily. Instead met up with Lightning, organized our packs, examined our feet, and quietly left Warner Springs. Short desert walk followed by a massive elevation climb through a creek several times and then fully exposed ridge walk led us to some Amazing views! Off in the distance, miles away we could hear dub step music coming from some mountain community I’d never seen before. In the elevation gain Lightning shot ahead and we camp separately. I’ve made dinner in a bag and I would give anything to add Parmesan to the lasagna in a bag. For a moment I get distracted because another hiker walked right into my little camp space only big enough for one under the shrub brush and we talk for a moment. He moves on, the moon is full, I listen to Jolene from Ray LaMontage on my iPad and wonder if I’ve ever loved anyone with all that I am….

May 3, 2015, 8:45 PM
Started at 122 and hiked to 144 with a lunch break at Mike Something

May 5, 2015, 6:54 PM
Didn’t sleep at all last night. I rented a room at Silver Pine Lodge in Iddylwild and invited 4 other hikers to stay the night, shower, re pack their packs and we all went for dinner. After dinner we had some down time watching YouTube movie on my iPad ant then off to bed. 2 of the 4 snored most of the night and I didn’t sleep much at all. Up at 4 AM and out the door by 5 AM. We walked through the town and up the hill towards the reroute and found a ride from a very nice guy who stocks the water cache at the junction. Three of us left while two others stayed in the room. Lightning and Shortcake planned to take a zero. Gazelle, Florida and myself all hiked the grueling near verticals climb to Saddle Junction and my quads burned by the time we reached the top, 3 hours later! With a short break off we went. First I kinda idled a bit and then we warmed up to the switchbacks and the rocky trail and I was hopping around like a twenty something, which I most definitely am not. Both of them are. We topped out at about 10,000 ft and started our decent. We stopped at the last water and cameled up for an hour or so. It was beautiful there. I tossed a snow ball at each of them and Gazelle offered to throw a baseball sized rock after informing me she played softball, before I had a chance to witness what I’m sure would have been a deadly pitch she tumbled down some rocks and opened up her knee pretty badly. Immediately the father in me came out and we scrounged together a first aid kit from Florida’s pack, I cleaned her wounds and bandaged her up. I swear if Mikayla could see Gazelle she would thinks he was looking in the mirror, a few years earlier. They walk similar, talk similar and even look kinda similar. At least when Mikayla was younger. Anyway Gazelle and I made nice and ventured out for the 25 mile stretch that is void of water sources. Florida stayed behind to soak up the sun and we all know we will all connect again soon enough. I leapt ahead of her while she made a phone call and made camp with very soar and tired feet at mile 195.6 while she decided after a brief chit chat to hike ahead another two miles to a über popular camp spot at mile 197. As I lay here cozy in my bag and freshly cleaned with baby wipes the clouds are shifting and it looks like rain is coming. I’m going to risk it and cowboy camp anyway. I plan to resurface in about 6 hours and make a run for the last 15 mile to the next water source, trail Angels ziggy and little bear. I still have just shy of 3 litters of water and the wind is picking up like it does every nite out here. No stars tonight.

May 7 2015, 9:00 PM
This morning I woke up in a storage shed converted into a shower facility. The lingering storm over head slowly convinced myself and three other through hikers to seek shelter. With 30+ hikers scampering like ants in search of solid dry shelter for the nite we staked claim to the only real four walls and a roof type building. We slept like sardines packed in like a jigsaw puzzle of ultra light down sleeping bags and expensive sleep pads. We woke warm and cozy and most importantly dry. Finding all the other hikers in random places in the back yard of trail Angels Ziggy and Bear brought to light for me just how amazing it is to have compassionate and caring people who take time from their lives to share their home and hearts with total strangers like myself. Just their philosophy towards life inspired me to take some time to talk with bear who is a retired older gentleman and let him know just how grateful I was that he was here and available for us. Thank you Bear. Ziggy who is bears wife is a sweet little old lady who I’m sure in her day had a commanding presence. If you squint your eyes a bit it’s easy to see her radiant strength and endurance that has sculpted her character into who she is today. Thank you Ziggy. My new tribe for this duration of the hike left there around 9 AM and made our way through windy canyons that nearly blew us from the trail several times. The trail wound around over and down as well as up and then back again to see some of the most amazing views from equally amazing angles. We chatted and bonded as we accented. We shared and confess as we defended. We became a trail marching machine. We paused for breaks, passed one another as we peed, took turns leading and following and wound up in a dry desert like canyon with a creek called Mission Creek. We set up tents, ate small meals and hunkered down for another windy and possible wet night. By the way it never did rain last night and we hope it doesn’t tonight either. Good night.

May 9
It actually snowed today! I crossed the White Water creek and preserve area today and climbed slow and steady up the switchbacks and into the hills south of Big Bear. I think the second creek was called Mission creek? Today was some huge elevation again but nothing compared to the area near Idyllwild. As I hiked it snowed and got so frikking cold I wore everything I have with me. All my sleep clothes, my day hiking clothes, my warm clothes AND my rain gear and I was still freezing. Making camp at 7,000 ft my water bottles froze! I slept with my water filter to prevent the internal membrane from freezing and/or damaging.

May 10
Today I will hike into Big Bear to get my package that isn’t available until tomorrow. I’ve eaten most of my food mostly to stay warm but also to lighten my load so I will hike faster and be in Big Bear by 9am.
I made it to town by 8:30 and found a place to stay at a hostel for hikers. It’s basically like a frat house here! I’m going to clean up and head out for food and some grocery shopping. I’ll also look for some things to reattach my solar panel better, some crocks as back up shoes as mine are already wearing thin.
Chores and food done. Bed time for me.

May 11 7AM
I WILL GET A RIDE TO THE POST OFFice in a few min and the hostel is starting to wake finally. Last night was a “toga nite” and the kids here all wore sheets and carried a can of beer with them at all times. I’ve returned some emails, re packed my clean laundry and will come back here to shower one last time. I’ll re organized my pack and hit the trail before 11. I’d like to put in at least 15 miles before bedtime. Until then….

 

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5 days

April 25, 2015, 7:20pm

Today’s hike was a rough one. I knew it was going to be a 20 mile day and wanted to return to the ADZPCTKO by day’s end. I started at the terminus after getting a ride from a trail angel couple with another hiker named Scott who had plans on hiking for two weeks only. He was in a hurry and sped off after a photo. I hiked my own pace past the Border Patrol and others showing up to hike the trail. I was passed by a few hikers at the 1st mile marker. How ever met two very nice young kids who hiked with me for the entire day. Ingrid who slack packed and Lightning Lowell who like me packed his entire pack. The views were amazing and the conversations were even better. As a group we suffered soar joints, muscles and tendons but carried on to finish at 5:15pm (as Lightning Lowell predicted) after starting around 6:40am. There was a cold burrito meal provided the day before and we thought for sure there was another meal waiting for us, there wasn’t. I walked to the near by store and had a double bacon cheeseburger with Lightning Lowell who had a patty melt. While we ate it rained. I returned to my tarp tent and crawled inside and shed all my wet clothes, layered dry smart wool PJ’s and crawled inside of my sleeping bag. The winds picked up around hiker midnight (9pm) and blew the rain sideways pretty much all night. I did not sleep very well at all.

April 26, 2015, 8:10pm

Today’s hike wasn’t nearly as steep. Pack was heavier or my body was more soar, I can’t tell which. This morning I regrouped with Ingrid and lightning Lowell, said goodbye to Florida who is also a sober hiker (I think 4 years), Jim (who snores incredibly loud) and a few others. Most everyone has wet dirty gear because of last nights rains and this mornings overcast. They tell me it’s never this bad in Lake Morena. So off we went Northbound, all three of us from completely different walks of life, all three of us with 20 miles of the PCT under our belts. We took turns leading the way, not in a rotating or organized fashion but rather when someone stops to pee the next person becomes the leader. When ever the last person stops we kinda slow down….until they catch up and then like a machine we snake ourselves up and down crazy switchbacks, down rolling hills into dry river beds tucked into canyons and then changing gears for our slow accents back up and over here dry rolling hills only to do it again…..and again. Along the way we found Sarah and Clay from back East somewhere. Newly formed as a couple they seem to be so perfect for each other. She is NOT a morning person while he is the most patient man alive and together they compliment one another nicely. Anyway we hiked with them for most of the day and all crashed out for a nap in the shade and tall grasses near by a creek with flowing water.

4/29 6:00pm

Started at Pioneer picnic area this morning 12 hours ago and resting almost twenty miles away via trail miles and far less as the crow flies. Ingrid has began to establish her own pace and unexpectedly showed hidden strength and courage. I’m very proud of her and now she hikes her own hike. I left early this morning and Lightning Lowell left at 7:00am and caught up while I was napping at fire water. I met some interesting characters today. Sheak is maybe early thirties with curly hair worn just below his ears and a beard that’s been farmed forward to protrude out from his chin a solid 2 inches. His friend Critter is a large man, opposite his name, and Critter can hike at a super quick pace! That boy has the salt sweat marks to prove it in his collared quick dry button up dressy looking Columbia. Fair skinned and light hair the team hikes together and compliments their vast differences. Also I met Windscreen who pushed on another 7 miles tonight in an effort to get to Julian via Scissors Crossing. A few of us secretly hope to crash his hotel room tomorrow morning! Canyon and Rabbit are a father daughter team, Rabbit is about 11. At 11 she can out hike most anyone but her Father keeps a loving close eye and slows her pace a bit. There is a Father son team as well as Canyon and Rabbit with far less interesting names as of yet but I imagine Wallace and Jack will get trail names eventually. Oh! Wait! I almost forgot Nude Dude! So Leo is this Asian kid in his twenties with legs like a moose! He is loaded up with full camera equipment and sound recording system with those foam microphone like in the movies. He makes these trippy DMT styled videos and usually they are videos of him nude in a variety of poses. I’ll see if he wants to share his work on this blog. Did I mention he edits these little 10 min. acid flashbacks on a laptop he charges with a ginormous roll out solar panel. His pack is heavy! As a walked away astonished, shocked, bewildered and slightly amazed, he mentioned he isn’t carrying a stove to save weight.

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3 days (for reals or not)

Let me explain this countdown a little better. Three days from now will be my last day of work. On the 24th I’ll go to the ADZPCTKO, the 25th I’ll actually start the hike and hike back to the ADZPCTKO 20 miles away from the border at Campo Ca. I’ll stay the day of the 26th at the party and the morning of the 27th I’ll continue North bound along the PCT. That being said I believe this adventure, my adventure, starts on the 20th, three days from now. Whew! Now that thats clear can I share with you what is not clear?

It isn’t clear exactly clear to me how I can be scared of something I also look forward to. It isn’t clear how I can be nervous about doing something I know I love doing. It isn’t clear to me why I can feel all these different emotions now at the start of this epic journey but not feel them at other times, or should I say at times when life is just life, when life is just as adventurous every day. Wouldn’t it be cool to just shift your heart and feel so much all at once when ever you felt like it? Drug and alcohol sales would plummet. 🙂

As this chapter ends and another begins I find myself wondering about this life I live in Big Sur. How different will it be when I return? How different will I be? Will the things I love stay the same? Will my love for this life stay the same? Its all so amazing and wonderful, the unknown. If you know me well then remember me as I am and then lets have lunch after the journey ends, let me share with you, you share with me, and then let me have it! What will you see as changed? What settle difference will you notice? Im pretty sure I’ll be hungry.

And so the countdown continues…..

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22 days (UNREAL!!!)

Its been awhile since my last blog post so Im sorry about that, for all the followers, heres your dose of all things PCT. This will be a long post so skim it or save some time to spend reading it in sections.

Let me start this out by saying a huge thank you to all those participating in this journey. My parents, my kids, and friends…thank you for the sacrifices you have all made so that I can finally do this. My Hermitage community and the Big Sur community in general have all had to put up with hearing the count down and the stories, oh the stories. They are yet still to come. My girlfriend who has been so kind and patient and helpful, … thank you. Thank you so much, all of you. To the online community… your support has been amazing. All the tips and advice are priceless. I enjoy following all the different blogs and the posts. Ill be watching you move along the trail just as I’m sure you too will be watching my progress. HYOH!

For those who don’t quite know what it takes to pull this off let me just share with you a little bit about it. For starters, money. Im hoping to have about 4,000$ set aside for this 6 month trek. I will go regardless but thats the current goal. Many PCT’ers will have about 5,000$ and some even more. So setting aside that sum of cash can be a bit of a challenge for some and I am one of them. Remember I also had to maintain regular life at the same time, this means reoccurring bills and a standard of living. Then there is the fluke stuff. I got two tickets and a parking ticket (universe sends these in three’s) that I am now working towards finality of the last one. Also I still need to file a non operational affidavit with the DMV and put auto insurance on hold. Did you know the Ca. DMV will charge you something extra if you hold your insurance with out notifying them first? I feel this is a strange assumption of guilt on the states part and Ive always presumed we are innocent until proven guilty? Anyway, so then to complete the process of getting my car ready for this duration, I will wash her inside and out, disconnect the battery, leave the hood open and put a car cover over her. Im hoping she will be happy with the preparations and continue to run when I return. Then the house, the house will have a new tennent while Im gone and they will likely water the plants inside and out. That same person will also cover my job while I’m gone for the best part of the year, summer in Big Sur! I’ll miss this life so much while I live another for the summer. Additionally my professional licenses auto registration, passport, internet and student loans  all need to be dealt with in some fashion. So I will attend to all of them one by one. that is just some of the prep work. Ive also made 24 resupply boxes packed with food and others things in an effort to estimate my needs during this walk for the next 6 months. for those who are aware, heres a small list of food items I will eat every day.

Breakfast will be oatmeal, every morning!Sure Ill mix it with things, anything really. Sometimes it will be cold, sometimes it will be hot.

Snacks will be twice a day, after breakfast and after lunch. The will either be Clif bars and/or snickers. This is also where you come in! Send cookies! Send anything! if its food I’ll eat it!

Lunch will be either a mix of instant potatoes, rice and/or pasta. All are instant add water types and they will be cold sometimes and sometimes hot. It depends on how much fuel I have. (I’ll talk about the stove later)

Snacks again! I will sometimes buy salami, cheese and/or beef jerky from the nearby towns but mostly it will be Clif bars.

Dinner will consist of Mountain House dehydrated meals. Yes I set aside 150 meals for my dinners and thank God for Amazon.

Also in the resupply boxes I will have toothpaste, bandaids, soap, baby wipes, duct tape, and other random things. Again for those who don’t know, I will at some point have to send snow and ice gear just in case, different rain gear for wetter areas of the trail and some replacement gear. I use trekking poles as most hikers do so I will send new tips along the way, new trail running shoes and socks because they will not last, as well as possibly new clothes. That remains to be seen. So you see the 4,000$ I plan to use for the hike will disappear quickly even with out getting any luxury items. I plan to stay in a few hotels along the way but I am hoping to share the cost with other hikers and shack up together along the way. That goes for a few things like showers and laundry, we will likely work together to help each other as we go.

So there are some of the logistics involved in an undertaking of this size. I hope this helps answer some questions many of you have asked recently. Please if you think of more and want to ask, feel free. I love to see people get involved. Email works really well for me and I return all emails regardless of how silly, long, short or detailed they may be. Try me.

Can I change gears now for a minute? I want to talk a little about the emotional status. I’m  excited, sad, happy, excited, nervous, scared, excited, and just generally feel unprepared. I’m told its common but it just feels strange. Im going to miss my dog, Bella. I’m going to miss the faces I see every day. I’m going to miss Doug’s jokes, Brother Bede’s cheerful response, Rich’s even tempered demeanor, Jim’s of the cuff witty remarks, Father Zack’s shuffle (tigger too), Cassin’s intellectual growth, Castro’s consistent brotherly charm, Brother Michael Harrington’s smile, Reniaro’s attention to detail, Brother Ignatius’s polite accent, Michael Richards geniality, Brother Joshua’s can do attitude, Jack Daniels sly comments and stories, Father Isaiah’s deliberate ability to listen, Uncle Wade’s infinite use of words, Terez’s gentile chuckle, Father Robert’s “Here we are.” and “There we go.”, Father Cyprian’s clarity of vision, and so many others that live here and make this special place and so unique and wonderfully awesome, there truly is no other place like it anywhere on Earth. I will miss this place I’ve called home for over two years now.

You know how many times I’ve asked myself, will it be the same when I return?

So this brings me back to the big one, Why? Why am I doing this hike? Why this long walk? Besides the adventure, the views, the challenge, the isolation in nature, the amazing hiking community, the small towns along the way, the 6 months with out a job, being able to eat anything I want with out gaining weight and being homeless,… I expect to find growth in my soul. I’m looking to grow internally into the man I can only see from afar. The kind of growth that doesn’t come easy. Not the kind of growth that you find in seminars, or classes, or even the spiritual growth that comes from church groups, no, I’m looking for a long term growth that changes the very fabric I am currently made from. All of life’s experiences combined thus far have only prepared me for this moment. This is the thresh hold of a new me. A richer more refined version of me awaits and I am going looking for that version of me. What it is exactly that I will find at the other end, I don’t know. What I do know is this, Im going to find out. Please join me, come with me as I move along. Lets see where this goes, together.

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45 days (coming together)

Short post today folks.

45 days and things are coming together. I’ve ordered the last of my food for the last of my resupply boxes. They should be finished completely in the next two weeks. The PCT map I ordered arrived and that will stay at the Hermitage in the book store and Rich will be posting it along with updates along the way so everyone will be able to take a look at it and know where I am at along the trail. I just received word that Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap ( a Fair Trade and Organic product ) will be donating their products for my hike and that’s excellent news for other people as well as me because this means I will be smelling fresh and clean for those town visits. Thank you Dr. Bronner! One of two tickets is almost finished, what! I like to drive quick. 🙂  My bank has been notified that I will be moving along the spine of all three states. Good news. Also Terez, this lovely French Canadian woman I work for, has been informed of my journey and my replacement (Dan-O) will take over as soon as I leave. My other replacement has cleared the back ground check and training starts soon. It’s all coming together so nicely, even the small details. The universe has something in store for me and I am ready to receive it what ever it might be.

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49 days (preparation, is it ever actually done)

As the days near to the ADZPCTKO I am starting to realize a to do list would be helpful. Ive contacted my internet company to suspend service while I not home and that is all set after climbing through their telephone tree. Ive paid for car registration. Also paid for my professional licenses from both states. I renewed my passport and got the new passport ID card, and thats coming. Taxes are done and spent already!

Things to do:
I need to defer my student loans but that needs to be done in May  after the hike starts.
I need to finalize my two traffic tickets I got just before the end of the year.
I still need to contact auto insurance and schedule a hold.
I am required to type up a training manual for my work.
I should create a USPS account and enter in all the resupply address for my pops.
Its probably important to notify my bank I’ll be doing the hike and to expect random   withdraws in random cities at very random intervals.

and the list goes on and on…and on…..

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59 days (sponsorship revisited)

CLIF bar has sponsored me with a gracious gift of 168 different CLIF bars and over 140 other CLIF bar products to help keep my PCT 2015 thru hike going forward. They also sent a team style quick dry shirt, amazing wool socks by  The Sock Guy as well as a pretty darn cool truckers hat with their logo on it. I’m giving out a huge thank you to CLIF bar and Bryan Cole who not only stepped up to help, but stepped way out on the edge.

I’d also like the thank The New Camaldoli Hermitage again. They have been a huge unexpected part of my life and helped facilitate the changes in my heart as well as in my soul. Thank you dearly monks/friends of the Big Sur Hermitage. Please see their video.

I’d like to thank author Holly Payne, who loves stories of inspiration.
hollylynnpayne.com/

Thank you Big Sur Kate who by request found an ultra light harmonica!
bigsurkate.wordpress.com

Also the three anonymous donations: REI gift card for 150$, 400$, 150$

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75 days remaining (interesting facts)

Permits and Forms

If you’re going to hike the PACIFIC CREST TRAIL and you plan to cook you’re going to need a permit and they are free. This type of permit is only for the state of California and is good for camp fires, BBQ’s, gas stoves and pretty much anything associated with camping and/or hiking. If you do the PCT you will need to carry the paper copy on you for the entire state of Ca. and Oregon does not require a permit to burn your California fire permit. Just say’en!

If you’re going to hike the PACIFIC CREST TRAIL for over 500 miles you’re gunna need a permit to do so. The way it works is you fill out a form and then you are contacted by email, twice. Again you will need the paper version and you must carry it with you during your hike. As for me, and I never said it was legal, I will shrink the paper versions and print them back to back on a single sheet then laminate. I hope to make them the size of my ID and still legible.

If you’re going to hike the PACIFIC CREST TRAIL into Canada you’re gunna need to apply for entry using an Entry Form. (PDF format) Now I wouldn’t consider shrinking this form but you also do not need to carry it with you until you actually arrive in/at Canada. I will send it to my last Washington location and carry it in then, in September sometime.

If you’re going to hike the PACIFIC CREST TRAIL with me then you will need the PCT Brendon companion form. There is no link at this time and the form is currently being rewritten to comply with 2015 yearly requirements. Please check back for more information. We expect the revised form to be complete and available for download soon.

Now I heard last year that the http://www.pcta.org website was going to great efforts to streamline the permit process and combine the three separate forms into one form but I can neither confirm nor deny this. 🙂 I’ve listed all the necessary forms and where to get them. As far as I know those are all of them.

Anonymous Donations


Unbelievable blessings are happening left and right and I’m compelled to share. I’ve just received two separate donations this last week from the most unlikely of sources and quite frankly the very last people I would have expected to contribute. One donation came to a total of 400$ and another for 120$!!! Both of these donations came with a single request, to be anonymous! Im amazed first at how humble these gentle people are and in a day and age when most are looking to gain much credit for little effort, these donors gave so much of themselves and asked for nothing. Truly a blessing to be in the presence of great people. Secondly I had no idea that my faith in the human race could so easily be restored. I am planning now as to how I will pay it forward because I can tell you, I saw something in the eyes of the donors as they gave, thats what I want, I want that something! So a huge thank you goes out to those amazing people who gave of them selves from their hearts with out asking for anything in return. I love and aspire to be more like you. We all should.

 

Identity?

Whats in an Identity really? I’ve been asked a few times by new hiking friends to post a photo of myself. My off-line friends know what I look like and never even notice I don’t have photos of myself posted here. The PCT hiking groups I’ve joined online all have no idea what I look like and I kinda like it that way. I mean if I’m disfigured or terribly skinny or only have one eye and one tooth then sure, I could understand the shock when I meet someone but I assure you, I’m rather average looking. The fact is I don’t feel compelled to post a photo of myself at all but I will. Not today, but I will. I think its a fun mystery for some and so I will post a photo just the last week before the hike! That should be fun. Not a shameless, shirtless selfie but a normal current friendly smile. OK? Deal? Good.

 

 

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80 days remaining (Just for fun)

Parents of thru hikers are starting to show up on the social media threads all over the place. (If you watch for this sort of hiking thing) Some are requiring the hiker son/daughter take/wear beacon devices of sorts. My favorite method is they are becoming heavily active in the chat realms, making friends on Facebook with other hikers, signing up for blogs, anything they can to be a part of what’s happening. Other methods are showing no signs of concern at all. We as parents have an arsenal of tools at our disposal when dealing with stress or concern for our children. My father does an amazing job of showing complete confidence in me and that gives me strength. My mother shows it differently with just the right measure of worry followed by letting go of it at just the right moment.

For all those crazy anxious worried parents who have just discovered cell phones do NOT work out there, I’ve found some ideas that might help.

If you want to keep a safe distance from your adventurous hiker son/daughter but need to be aware of their location and you prefer the low tech method, you might enjoy this!
Option A:Click here! Tie one of these to their pack!
Option B:Click here! Tie one end of these to their pack!

StickNfind by the dozens should work well. Your ultra lite hiker will grow to appreciate your ‘need to know’ approach as the extra weight is hardly noticeable.

For the high tech, high paranoid parents require your ultra lite hiker child to sport this highly visibility, highly bright orange, highly embarrassing FindMeSpot Locating device. This is the modern day, grown-up equivalent of a leash that is commonly in use for small children.

If you want to ensure your child’s safety you might want to try lifting their spirits along the way. Happy hikers are safe hikers! Send them a smile by writing to them and I don’t mean email. Actually write them a letter because you’re still capable while the next few generations will say, “What with a pen and paper?” Let them know you’ve rented their room while they thru hike the PCT. Mention the resupply shipping costs are now covered with the sale of their car which also made room in the garage! Send your child an 8 pound dehydrated bowling ball or some dehydrated water. Send throw back photos to other hikers so we can play pin the photo on the hiker. Be every hikers favorite parents and send cookies! Lots of them! All the time!

I would also like to suggest meeting your child on the trail somewhere. Do a little training on the treadmill, maybe put on your favorite hiking pants, and grab your back pack and be prepared to enjoy yourself.

Just a few ideas that might help. Fellow thru hikers can thank me later.

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85 days remaining (How it works)

How things work is today’s theme.

How things work on the trail is a little more precise but over all how it works for me and sometimes why it works for me.

First up:
Bear canisters
There’s been a ton of chatter on Facebook about bear canisters on the trail. Some say ITS THE LAW! Others say it’s the law and I don’t know why. A few say it’s a stupid law. What do I say? I’ll tell ya. I tend to say it’s a law designed for the general public to solve problems created by the general public whose conception came from the general public. (We are only as strong as the weakest link) To solve the bear eating our food problem we should eliminate our food so that their own food is the only available option to them. The powers that be know it’s not possible to make the entire general public avoid eating food in the back woods or at national parks, after all they sell food at the national parks so there’s a question of profit in there somewhere. Back to eliminating food. It can’t be done. What can be done is eliminating the smell of food. We have the means to make that possible for everyone but will everyone take the time to do it? The powers that be know that not everyone will take the time to practice eliminating the food smells so they implement law requiring people/hikers to carry bear canisters. The problem with this is the food smell still exists. Now if a bear can still smell your food but now can’t eat it, what do you think might happen? Yes. Now you’re thinking. That’s right. It’s very likely the bear will still come around, it’s very likely the smell of food will arouse the bear, it’s very likely it’s not going to smell our food and then go away looking for its own food after being frustrated, it’s also likely that the only other easy food source bears can get to is you. Especially if you’ve locked food in a bear canister. I think fisherman would get this concept quickly. The bear canister is what bait is to fish. There’s no hook here but there is a reward for the most aggressive bear and that’s you! Then to complicate things the powers that be send the aggressive bear into the wild to wonder where ever it can with its new skill set. Because I’m not the general public or the powers that be I’ve come up with a tried and tested solution for me. Eliminate the smell of food! What a concept.
Here “how it works”. When I get hungry I plan out how it will happen. So instead of going for the food first I will actually work backwards. What does this mean? It means I picture the moment I want to create first. I will ‘see’ that moment in its entirety first then go backward until I discover how I got there. After all we are civilized creatures with a spirit and a powerful mind and that separates us from animals that might just ATTACK our food first. So I ‘see’ myself enjoying a lunch with my feet up, shoes off and almost reclined. I see myself with reading material near by and ready if I might like to read while I eat. I see myself enjoying my food with out having to touch anything while I eat. I see myself keeping what I have safe from bugs, mice, bears. I imagine the prep time in reverse if I’m cooking. I imagine how I will access the trash bag and the food bag. I will almost always stop at a water source to eat/cook. I will set everything up first BEFORE touching anything food related. The last thing I will touch before eating is my food only. Then I imagine the clean up. I picture washing all the items that came into contact with food or food smells. The near by water source will mask the smells that travel for 20+ miles in the air. Then when I actually start to prepare food I’m already prepared in every other way so as NOT to scratch my face, unzip a jacket, untie shoes or move sitting pads. It’s ALL done ahead of time to prevent transmitting the smell of food to me or my clothes or gear. And the last rule I follow, I never sleep where I’ve eaten or never eat where I’m going to sleep. Always put a few miles between the two. Especially in bear populated areas. So will I carry a bear canister? I will not. Let the general public do that.

Washing your down sleeping bag
This is an answer to a previous post for those that wish to know. Oils from your skin as well as dirt and general use can build up on any sleeping bag and actually reduce the temp ratings of said down bag/quilt. So it will need to be washed from time to time and I’m from the school of thought that washing and use should be balanced. Some say never wash them, some say wash often. I say everyone has different skin types. Some people do not have oily skin at all, others sweat in their sleep. Find what’s right for you and find your balance. When you’ve decided to wash that favorite down bag/quilt use a gentle method. If you have a hand wash setting on a machine, use that one. If I use a machine I will add some other sheets in the wash because it helps to keep the bag/quilt from getting stuck in the little places on the machine. The best method is to hand wash my down bag/quilt in a bath tub. If this is your favorite piece of gear then treat it like a baby, literally. Warm water, mild soap and mild agitation. Rinse several times. I will put mine in a dryer, other refuse but I do. Air fluff dry with tennis balls or those rubber fabric softener balls. The goal here isn’t to dry the bag/quilt in a hurry its more a goal of bringing back the loft of the down. The entire process for washing your down sleeping bag/quilt should take almost all day and that my friends is how it works.

Here’s a break from how it works, please enjoy these answers from the 100 days post in order.

Nope.
2655 but most round up to include Manning Park (2660)
Only for a maximum stretch of 10 days.
I will up new boxes along the way.
Pretty much anything but mostly light weight calorie rich.
Yes Please! I mean that! Really! Salami, beef jerky, cheese anything will be so welcomed.
Are you worried about bears? (See above)
No weapons other than the one between my ears.
Fight back until one of us wins or the bear calls truce.
Mostly.
Mostly.
Not sure I’ll need it.
I’ll use the other one to get help.
Great question! I’ll let you know.
Several times. Not in a single day of course.
Same thing that happens when you do.
Maybe the first days from towns.
Only if it’s dehydrated. 🙂
So looking forward to it, use iTunes and ask for my I.D.
Yes more than I’d like.
I do but only for Washington really.

Hope this helps some.

Tarps vs Tents
Let discuss tents first. We were brought up in part by parents and camp counsellors or some other outside influence to believe tents are useful when camping for a multitude of reasons but if you’ve ever used one then you know most of those things are delusional at best. They don’t stop ants or flying insects. They do not stop bigger animals from getting in if they want in. You can change your clothes in privacy in them but you have to be agile usually. They are heavy for hiking. If one thing breaks, poles or straps, the damn thing never works properly again. The condensation builds up in them and sometimes it’s dryer outside of the tent. I could go on and on but you get the idea. I prefer a tarp can you tell. They are getting better all the time in design, construction and weight. My tarp is an Echo2 (see gear page) At the minimum it uses two stakes and eight for deluxe setup. Lets talk about how it works. Tarps are basically like using the rain fly of a tent. There is no base or bug netting and usually no zippers to fuss with. Mine can be set up in a few min. to stop rain or create a little shade but other than those two things I won’t need it for much else. Ah! So wind might be the only time a tent instead of a tarp might be better. If wind is pushing rain sideways a tent will have an advantage tarps do not.

This turned out to be an extra long post and I still feel like there’s more to share but I’ll limit myself to here for now. Thank you for reading and following this amazing journey.

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95 days remaining (alcohol stoves)

Yep we’re talking stoves today, alcohol stoves to be more precise. For those familiar with camp stoves, I’m sure you have a favorite. For those familiar with alcohol stoves, I’m sure you’ve made your own already.
I prefer my stove to all others and here’s why:
It’s lighter than almost all of them out there, it has consistent burn times at sea level as well as on top of Whitney, there are no canisters to return, the fuel bottle is a light weight plastic bottle, there are no moving parts at all, fuel is inexpensive and easily available (denatured alcohol) at any hardware store, and the stove is tough!

For those who say alcohol stoves are dangerous, you’re right, don’t use them. Just because they are dangerous for you does not mean they are dangerous for me. In fact because caution and awareness come natural to me it’s dangerous for me if YOU use alcohol stoves so please don’t!
For those who do not know about the hazards of alcohol stoves here they are:
You can burn yourself!
There is no shut off switch. That’s a good thing contrary to popular belief because with out a shut off switch you become more aware of how much fuel you actually need/use. The flame is near invisible during the day. Also a good thing, because it burns so very clean that you can use this stove in a car or tent. (Not suggested if you are from the school of thought that alcohol stoves are dangerous) I’ve also heard people say they are easy to tip over. They are, if you’re trying to. They are if you aren’t easy to tip if you are paying attention to the fact that you have a very flammable, very hot, ultra light stove burning super clean nearly invisible fuel with out any kind of shut off valve. If on the other hand you treat it like a loaded weapon it can be very useful in the right hands and dangerous in the wrong hands. Ok with that said lets take a look at a few models before I show mine off. (best for last kinda thing)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top left is exactly like the first stove I ever made.

The bottom right is the closest to my design but here she is below! I need a little help from all of you though. She needs a name.

I’d like you to see her in action before you come up with a name for her. Seems only right.

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100 days remaining (Happy Birthday)

Today marks my 44th year sharing this rock with all of you as well as the 100 day count down to the ADZPCTKO. I am a Capricorn, a father, son, brother, uncle, nephew and proud to say still a grand son, as well as a PCT hiker, and a lover. To my family I want to say thank you for all of  your support over the years and your unflinching love. I love knowing I can call randomly, and I do, and you will answer, help, listen and love. Thank you! To my tribe, thank you so very much for how you affect me deeply in my train of thought, and my emotional connection to your hearts that helps guid and shift me. Thank you for your contributions both physical and spiritual but mostly the latter. You know who you are. To the hiking community I can’t wait to spend 6 months with you! It’s going to be life changing and amazing as well as bonding! Go PCT Class of 2015!

To my lover, I’ll thank you in person.

 

On a PCT related note I’ve still been getting a lot of interesting questions, so I’m going to talk about those today. It’s almost as fascinating to me as it is to those who hear about the hike with regards to their questions. I won’t name names but here are a few in no particular order other than the way I remember them.

Will you wear underwear?
How many miles it is?
Will you carry all your food?
Who will bring you food?
What kind of food will you take?
Can I send you food?
Are you worried about bears?
Will you pack heat?
What will you do if/when you are attacked by bears?
Are you going to sleep on the ground?
Will you sleep outside at night?
How will you get help?
What if you break your leg?
Does the PCT have bats?
Are you going to poop in a hole?
What happens if you get sick?
Will you bring water with you?
Can I send you water?
Can I send you MP3’s?
Will you be in the snow?
Do you have rain gear?

The list goes on, I wish I had time here for all of them. Some are really good questions others tell me more about the person asking the question. I’m going to answer them for you in a edited version of this same post latter. Also to come in the next 100 days I will talk about ways to keep your down bag clean, tarps vs tents, food prep and storage both on and off the trail, asking for sponsorship and/or marketing and some other things fellow hikers seem to be interested in. All coming soon. This guys video is hilarious. His blog is awesome too. Please enjoy.

Super Fun Time Thunderstorm On The Pacific Crest Trail from Halfway Anywhere on Vimeo.

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